More Than Half Of RCMP's Calls Involved Alcohol

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    Statistics released this week by the Whitehorse RCMP show that police officers in the capital are busier this year than they were in 2008.

    The quarterly report is regularly sent to city council and the Kwanlin Dun First Nation chief and council, and has been released ( in part ) to the media for the first time this year.

    It's an effort to show what the detachment members are doing, and to keep the public abreast of policing priorities, Sgt. Don Rogers said about releasing the numbers.

    The statistics which have been made public are those that focus on the force's priorities for 2009/2010: Reducing the number of impaired drivers by actively seeking out and charging impaired drivers, increasing the number of drug enforcement charges with a focus on disruption of organized drug traffickers, and reducing the number of alcohol-related calls for service through education and public outreach.

    Overall, the Whitehorse detachment received 3,245 calls for service between July 1 and Sept. 30, 2009. That is a 20 per cent increase from the same time period last year and 10 per cent boost from the last three-year average.

    More than half of those calls - 1,880 - involved alcohol. In 87 of the calls, drugs abuse was reported, a sharp decline from the same time last year, when drug use was reported in 189 calls.

    Some of the overall increase was due to more people calling to report impaired drivers: Last year, police received 263 such calls during the summer quarter, with 330 coming in this summer.

    Calls about drug-related offences ( buying and selling as opposed to using ) were also down to 101, from 129 during the same period last year.

    The numbers "are indicative of the efforts being made towards achieving these policing objectives for the City of Whitehorse," Rogers said.

    The report also highlighted three significant files from the summer quarter. At the top of the list is Project Macer, an undercover operation which used a police informant and led to the arrests of five suspected high-level drug traffickers.

    More than a kilogram of cocaine was seized during the operation, along with 1,300 Ecstasy pills and more than $152,000 in cash.

    Police estimated the drugs would have sold for $170,000 on the street and that over the course of a year, drug profits would extend into the millions of dollars.

    There was one homicide during the summer. A 56-year-old man was killed in the Crestview subdivision on Aug. 8. A 16-year-old girl turned herself in later that same day and has been charged with second-degree murder; her identity is protected because she is a minor.

    Also under arrest is the person believed to be responsible for a significant amount of graffiti around Whitehorse.

    Jesse Pickles, 18, was arrested after a downtown resident called police to report two people in black hoodies wielding cans of spray paint.

    Police believe Pickles may have scrawled the name Sonic on many of the city's walls, trash cans and playgrounds.

    Finally, the report noted a surprising leap in t

    he number of criminal records checks and pardon requests handled by the RCMP's civilian staff during the past six months.

    The number of requests rose from 239 for the first two quarters of 2008 to 1,467 in the same period of 2009.

    Rogers attributed the jump to more awareness on the part of employers and volunteer organizations who want background information on potential workers.

    To meet the higher demand, Rogers said administrators at the detachment are considering enlisting the help officers who are not on active duty.

    The detachment is also trying to streamline front-desk operations, he said, pointing to a recent request by police that people reporting vehicle collisions have a damage estimate done before coming in to the detachment.

    This does not apply when police have responded to the scene of the crash, he noted.

    Justine Davidson
    November 13, 2009
    Whitehorse Star

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